Hormonal contraceptives are trusted devices to prevent conception.
The mode of action and advantages of hormonal contraceptives are as follows:
i. Oral administration of small doses of either progestogens or progestogen-estrogen combinations, mostly target to females, is known as pills. Pills inhibit ovulation and implantation as well as alter the quality of cervical mucus to prevent/ retard entry of sperms. Pills are very effective, have lesser side effects and are well accepted by women.
Pills have to be taken daily for a period of 21 days preferably within the first 5 days of menstrual cycle. After a gap of 7 days (during which menstruation occurs) it has to be repeated in the same pattern.
ii. Progestogens alone or in combination with estrogen can also be used as injections or implants under the skin. Their effective periods are much longer.
iii. Administration of progestogens or progestogen-estrogen combinations or IUDs within 72 hours of coitus has been found to be very effective as an emergency contraceptive.
iv. Hormone-based contraceptive are completely reversible allowing pregnancy to occur on discontinued usage.
Disadvantages of hormonal contraceptives:
i. They can have many serious side effects.
ii. They can cause allergic reaction.
iii. They can sometimes damage the normal hormonal balance and later even if desired, pregnancy may not be achieved.
iv. They disturb the menstrual cycle so that level of menstrual flow can be either too low or high and lead to irregular menstruation cycles.
v. Hormonal balance is disturbed that may lead to nausea, abdominal pain, breakthrough bleeding, irregular menstrual bleeding or even breast cancer.
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